So…I guess I quit Facebook



I've been meaning to take this step ever since the beginning of this year. My reasons to go on being a part of this unavailing parade?  Friends, Family, Professional connections, Social circles and the general need to "stay in the loop".

It's no hidden truth that Facebook has swept over the entire world like a giant wave of consumerism, marketing and social media. It's easy to be a part of it because it's free. But you know what they say "If you're not paying for it, then you're not the customer; You're the product being sold."

The question I most deal with these days is why I took this step. Some of my friends (including my mom) thought that something had "happened". I'm writing this post to clear the air and try to explain myself.

The thought crossed my mind last week. I pictured how it would be like if I left Facebook. It was random, like a fleeting thought that often crosses a weary mind. I wondered, what if something wonderful happens, what if I decide to take a trip around the world, what if I meet a celebrity, what if really good things start happening; how am I gonna share all that, where will I put all those pictures, all those memories, how will I show-off? How will my 1000+ friends get to know what's going on in my life? I laughed at my haughtiness and brush those thoughts aside.

Yesterday, however, I wasn't thinking. I logged into Facebook first thing in the morning and disabled my account. Maybe it was easier because I wasn't thinking. I was just consumed by this overwhelming urge to quit the site. Once safe out of its reach, I gathered my thoughts.

Being friends on Facebook doesn't mean a thing in real life. There were people I was friends with online, whom I never speak with otherwise. It was ridiculous.

Secondly, it makes it way too easy for people to contact each other. If you wanna see a friend, you get off your ass and walk up to where they are, or at least pick up your damn phone and give them a call. Facebook has literally reduced the sense of friendship to a bunch of digital signals. Instead of bridging the gaps, it has only created more walls.

There was a girl in one of my classes this semester, whom I saw once a week. We would always sit together, talk about our lives and share a chuckle or two over the jokes that our professor cracked. She was not on Facebook. So I couldn't add her. The first time this hit me, I felt sad that I won't be able to keep in touch with someone I connected so well with. But then we would talk over the phone and hang-out after our class. I would actually look forward to Mondays when I would get to see my friend. It was a different kind of thrill. And rest assured, I felt closer to her than most of my other close friends who're too cool to step off Facebook and spend time in person.

The truth is, your real friends will always find you. They'll always know what's on your mind. Not because they saw it on their news-feed but because they care enough to actually ask you. They don't need to be reminded that it's your b'day or that they need to wish you new years. They'll always remember.

Funny thing is I joined Facebook almost 4 years back, right before I started my university life; and I quit now when I am mere weeks away from graduating. It's like the end of an era. I wont be completely starving myself technology-wise though; there're always ways to telecommunicate with your loved ones. All I want now is to focus on living my life, rather than sharing it.

Perfection is an illusion

There's a lesson I learnt very recently, from a most unexpected source - video games.



Craig Benzine or better known as WheezyWaiter has never failed to amuse me. While surfing his YouTube channel last week, I stumbled upon a playlist of him playing Dark Souls. A few videos down and I felt that old gamer in me shift a little. I used to play a lot of video games back in high school and then completely stopped after joining university. Well needless to say, I revisited an old steam account, and downloaded the first game I saw in my library: The Elder Scrolls IV: Oblivion. I started playing this morning, which went by quicker than I could realize.

I've always been a cautious player, you know the kind who has one eye on the game and the other switching  between the scores and the health/power/strength levels, one who never lets an unopened chest or an unvisited room go by, one who needs to find all the keys, all the treasure, the kind obsessed with perfect scores! I must admit it's hard to enjoy the game, once your attention's split between all the rest.

There was a simple task I was facing in the game. I was supposed to pick a lock in order to open this chest. It required perfect timing. I was still learning how to do this, so I missed the first few times, but even as I was gaining on the confidence and knowledge, I was losing on the number of attempts I could make, and eventually, I had to pass the chest and move on. I found myself thinking of that chest for the next 20 minutes or so, I felt I couldn't move on until I knew what's in it. I even considered starting the game all over again, just so I could get another shot at it.

Then I remembered.

Having watched Craig play for so long, I suddenly remembered his style. He would focus on only one thing: moving on in the game. I would see him miss so many instructions and items on his way (and I would cringe a little) but he would somehow always make up for them later. He would never get stuck. He would go around smashing stuff, figuring things out along the way, making mistakes, learning from them, and never stop having fun!

There is a lesson to this, don't you think? It reflects a way of life. Unlike in video games, you cannot restart your life, there's no point worrying over the opportunities you missed or the mistakes you made. There's always gonna be a way to make up for them later. There's no going back so you might as well focus on moving forward and enjoying the game for what it's worth.

I'm gonna forget about that chest and move on.

The recollection

You know one of those scenes in an insanely emotional flick where the protagonist stumbles upon something, an object, a phrase and suddenly he has a detailed and accurate flashback of the story behind it, complete with dialogues and expressions. I never thought that were possible in real life. Needless to say, this post is about how wrong I was.


This morning, having trudged all the way to the library to carry on with my preparation for the university exams next week, I was pretty groggy and quite plainly stressed. I've always (like millions of other students) had a habit of highlighting my lecture notes. And there I was studying and highlighting my astronomy notes in yellow when a particular incident from my childhood came back to me like a flash and I stopped.

I was 6. Having submitted an article (more like a bunch of incoherent sentences about something stupid) for a little competition at school, I was told the previous week that it had won a place in my school magazine. I must've been thrilled. I don't remember. At a following event, our principal had read out the names of the winners in his speech, a copy of which was given to all present, which included my mother. That evening at home, she carefully laid out the speech on my desk and asked if she could borrow my yellow crayon. I nodded and handed it over. She then began looking through the 5-page speech. After a couple of moments I heard her go "ahhh!" as she made a thick yellow line over a particular stretch on the page using the yellow crayon. I had no idea what she was doing, but I was curious. So I leaned in and saw the line she had drawn over. It was the part of the principal's speech where he had announced my name. I still didn't get it. I looked up and asked her what the yellow color meant and she said "well it's a way of highlighting something important that you might wanna see again, only you won't have to search for it a second time!" I was swept off by this simple idea. To me, she was a genius.

Back in the library, still holding that yellow highlighter mid-air, I couldn't believe I had such a fresh account of that memory locked up in my mind somewhere. But having looked back 15 years into the past, I couldn't help but feel humbled and grateful for having all these right forces in my life. I mean I was like a handful of freshly kneaded dough, and thankfully I was shaped in the best ways possible by people who cared and still do. I put the highlighter back, grabbed my phone and got up.
"Where are you going?" my friend asked.
"Just need to call someone who taught me how to highlight."

People

I've been busy. Clearly. And only recently did I happen to realize how much I miss blogging! It was an unintended hiatus and I beg for your pardon.
What I did, while I wasn't blogging
So these past few months are spent in travelling, visiting my homeland, and getting started with my final year at college. For some reason it seems like a promising year, I've grown as a person, coming to terms with the way things are and will always be, I've figured out some of my own priorities and dreams, although for most part it still remains an enigma.

Pretty many thoughts have crossed my mind over this break but given my miniscule-termed memory, it would be an impossible feat to pen them all down separately. So I've decided to categorize these random thoughts under one word "people".

Born quite normal and alike, people grow on to take the shape of this weird and varied lot. It's always been a habit of mine to just gaze at people (not in a creepy way) specially at public places and observe - observe how they all cling to things that feed their sense of worth, how they try to hide their deepest insecurities and how different they are in their demeanor, yet sharing a connection with each other at some level.

People think, people communicate, people are privileged enough to be the creators of their own fate. Why is that so hard to comprehend?

Yesterday a friend informed me about these 2 documentaries that were being screened in town, Yagoon Calling (based on the Punk culture in Burma as of June 2011) and Wariazone (based on the transgenders in Indonesia). It had been quite some time since I'd given my wholehearted attention to a socio-political issue so I was more than willing to join him. Long story short, the movies were good. I'm probably not gonna review them here for my own thoughts on these matters are not concrete. However, what kept striking me for most part of the evening was how different people are, in their beliefs, in their approach to a problem, even in their sense of who they are. I'm no anthropologist, but it wasn't quite hard to gauge the complexity of my race.

Recently some of my friends have been feeling under pressure, a few because they can't get their parents to agree with their choice of a life-partner, a few because they've been trying to excel academically for so long that they're exhausted and want to give up, and a few like me, who just can't figure out what they wanna do next!

If only people could ease-up a little, try to rise above those obsolete social norms, and picture the world in a different light, things could get a lot better.

Happythankyoumoreplease!


This post is about gratitude. Something so simple, yet so rare.




We have a canteen system in our university. Each one having stalls representing different cuisines. Over the years of feasting at your favorite canteens, you grow familiar with the stall owners. In return they start recognizing you too, often to the extent of catching on with your taste and preparing your order in advance, and if kind and trusting enough, they might sometimes let you pay them later or round up your bills and spare you from rummaging your pockets for change.

Some of them however make you wonder.

There's this old chap who mans his stall with the help of an assistant and a cook. If I didn't know any better I'd say he was the reincarnation of grumpy the dwarf. The only thing that makes me look past that perpetual frown on his face, is the mouth-watering assortment of dishes on display at his stall. These few weeks I've been visiting his stall on a regular basis and each day seems to lay on him fresh griefs and miseries. He would be stingy in the portions he gives, would haggle over the prices and always sound pathetic, forgetful and miserable. Almost enough to make you lose your appetite even before the start of your meal. My first reaction towards his behavior was pity. I figured the guy had a lot of troubles to deal with and the least I could do was not hate him for that, but sometimes his insolence would cross the line and I would wonder if things are really that bad or if it's just him.

They say with gratitude the universe is infinitely abundant.

There's a metaphysical idea (as showcased in the movie happythankyoumoreplease) that the universe is listening to you, it's always hearing you and so if something great is happening, you can say, "I'm happy! Thank you! n yea yea yea I'll take more of that, I'll order more of that you hear me?" Gratitude is this really powerful force that so few have ever really felt. Like that old guy we're all a little restless and dissatisfied with what we have because everything culturally is trying to show us what we don't -"if only I had that I would be happier" but even after getting that, we wake up the next morning, still unhappy.

The only worthwhile prayer is a prayer of thanks. To be grateful for what you have and not sad or angry for what you don't. I wish he'd realize that.